On the planet Argelius III, McCoy, Scotty, and Kirk are watching an exotic dancer, Kara, at a bar. As a man stalks out, Scotty offers to take the dancer on a walk in the mist. After he leaves, Kirk and McCoy discuss the fact that a recent explosion, caused by a woman, gave Scotty a concussion and a brief hatred of females. McCoy concludes the engineer is cured and they go out to another bar, but hear a scream. Investigating, they find the dancer, dead, and Scotty leaning against the wall with a knife in his hand.
Commissioner Hengist, a Rigellian who acts as head of law enforcement since the Argelians are so peaceful, begins the investigation and tries to interrogate Scotty. The Chief Engineer says he doesn’t remember anything and McCoy warns that Scotty may be suffering amnesia from the concussion. Hengist confirms only Scotty’s fingerprints are on the knife and warns that the outlook for Scotty isn’t promising. Prefect Jaris arrives with his wife, Sybo, and announces that his wife is an empath and she will conduct her own investigation. They proceed to Jaris’ house but Kirk asks permission to beam down a technician with a psychotricorder and Jaris agrees. Jaris notes that as a planet of pacifists, they are considering closing down the planet since violence of any form is unthinkable. Lt. Tracy beams down to check Scotty, and Jaris provides them with a private chamber.
Sybo returns, ready to begin the ceremony, and needs the knife. However, it has disappeared and a scream rings out. They go to the chamber and find Scotty unconscious and Tracy dead, stabbed to death.
Scotty is in shock and Hengist arrives with the other suspects. One of them, a musician, is the dancer’s father and the other man Morla, who left at the bar earlier, was her lover. Morla admits he was jealous, an emotion practically unknown on Argelius. McCoy can’t determine any signs that the lock on the door to the chamber was tampered with, and Hengist still believes Scotty is the primary suspect but Sybo is ready to begin. Kirk has the room sealed and Jaris agrees. Spock calls down from the ship to suggest the investigation occur aboard the ship, but Kirk insists that it must be settled under Argelian law.
The ceremony begins and Sybo speaks of sensing a presence, a monstrous terrible evil with a consuming hunger and a hatred of all that lives. She mentions the words boratis, kesla, and redjac, then screams as the lights go out. When the lights come on, Scotty is holding Sybo’s body… with a knife in her back. McCoy insists Scotty couldn’t have done it, and Kirk asks for Scotty to be taken to the ship so they can determine exactly what happened, with no doubt remaining. Jaris warns that the ancient penalties are still on the book, and the ancient penalty for murder is death by slow torture.
Aboard the Enterprise
, they begin the hearing and the computer determines that Scotty’s injuries couldn’t cause amnesia. Scotty claims he doesn’t remember anything about the first two murders and the computer verifies he’s speaking the truth. Scotty says he remembers the events of the third murder, heard Sybo scream, and tried to go to her help. He was blocked by some… thing, freezing cold. The computer verifies he’s telling the truth and that he didn’t kill Sybo, and still doesn’t remember killing the first two women. Hengist is dismissive of the entire procedure but Kirk insists that a new psychotricorder analyst will establish exactly what happens.
Kirk then has Morla testify and he admits he was angry but that he loved Kara and didn’t kill her. Tark leaps up to say that Kara was repulsed by Morla’s jealousy and they often fought, but the computer verifies Morla is telling the truth. The captain decides to pursue Sybo’s last words and they use the computer to determine that the word Redjac is a proper noun referring to Jack the Ripper, a serial killer of the 19th century. Spock notes that human/humanoids are only a small percentage of known life forms, and many are extremely long-lived, and some can feed on emotion. Hengist is still skeptical but Spock has the computer determine such a creature could exist, and would exist in a non-corporeal energy form but could briefly assume physical cohesion and use a hypnotic screen to blind its victim. Kirk runs down the computer records on serial killings murders of women and they follow a pattern from Earth out into space and finally to Argelius. Boratis and Kesla are the names of other mass murderers, and the last one was on Rigel one year ago. Kirk notes Hengist is a Rigellian and asks him to take the stand. When he refuses, they check the murder weapon and determine it is also from Rigel. Hengist tries to make a break for it and Kirk slugs him, and Hengist falls down dead. The lights flicker and a male computer voice starts laughing hysterically. The entity is now controlling the computer… and the computer controls the ship.
They are unable to override the computer systems but Spock concludes the Redjac entity will try to breed fear first rather than instantly kill everyone. Kirk suggests that McCoy sedate the entire crew and then heads for the bridge with Spock. After the turbolift briefly runs out of control, they get to the bridge where Redjac taunts them. Spock feeds an unsolvable mathematical program into the computer, diverting all of its resources and forcing the entity to abandon the computers. Meanwhile, the crew are injected with sedatives and immediately relax.
Kirk and Spock return to the briefing room where everyone but McCoy and Jaris are sedated. Kirk orders McCoy to sedate himself but when the captain prepares to sedate Jaris, the entity possesses him. Spock uses the Vulcan nerve pinch on him and Hengist comes back to life and holds a knife to a yeoman’s throat. Kirk manages to disarm him and Spock injects him with the sedative. They take the entity in Hengist’s body to the transporter room and beam him out at widest possible dispersion. A happy McCoy and Scotty arrive as Spock explains the creature may survive for a while but is powerless. McCoy warns it’ll take five or six hours for the sedatives to wear off. Spock suggests the captain relax and Kirk prepares to lead the way to a café with women so… until he notes Spock looking dubious at the prospect. Rather than go alone, Kirk settles himself in for a few hours aboard the ship. Share this article with your friends